The subject of his paintings are animals, bleeding out, strangled or mounted to the wall as trophies. But far from being grizzly accusations, some of the works seem almost soothing and melancholic, sky-blue colours balancing out the implications of violence.
Dauphin said in an interview with Delano: “I didn’t mean to be controversial. My paintings are non-judgmental wake-up calls for a conscious consumption of meat. It’s about recognising the value of an animal’s death.” The paintings are accompanied by a series of crafted wooden guns. “They remind me of my childhood,” is his only explanation.
It seems ironic that of all places, Dauphin’s canvases should be exhibited in a restaurant that serves meat, but in fact, his message is very much in line with The Farm’s philosophy. François Dickes, owner of the establishment in Hollerich, intends to keep food distribution chains as short as possible and buys directly from local producers and winemakers: “I know every single person whose products I buy.” It’s quality over quantity, without pomp and artifice in the pop-up restaurant located in a former depot and catering service kitchen.
Dauphin compares his relation to his paintings to that of a farmer to his stock. “My paintings are like my children, I see them grow up and evolve but then I have to set them free because it’s my job. That’s why it’s important to me where they end up.”
When it comes to selling his artwork, Dauphin, like Dickes, prefers a short distribution chain without a middle man. “Whenever I can, I deliver the works myself and only sign them upon arrival, in front of the buyers. For me, it’s important to know who the new owners are and in what spot the paintings will hang,” Dauphin told Delano on 30 November, a day after the vernissage.
Max Dauphin prefers large canvases: “It makes painting a more physical process.” Photo credit: Jessika Maria Rauch
Dauphin has exhibited in Luxembourg, London, Beirut, Rome and New York. This particular project was created specifically for Dickes and with The Farm’s unique setting in mind. Neither of them is worried that the depiction of dead or dying animals will put off customers. “If I get people to put away their phones and start a discussion, I’ve accomplished my goal,” Dauphin said. Other than that, he prefers to not explain his artworks, it’s up to the observer.
Dauphin’s exhibition runs till the end of December. The Farm is located at 80 rue de l'Aciérie, Luxembourg-Hollerich. The Farm will shut down in June 2021, after which the building that houses the restaurant will be destroyed.